Overview & background
In this Practical Guide, we describe how to create standardized tasks for all the work that needs to be done on one floor, as well as how to replicate those tasks onto another level or multiple levels of your project with the same (or a very similar) floor plan. This workflow can be used for multi-family residential buildings, hotels, or any other projects with repetitive floor plans.
Proactive coordination of and communication with the multiple stakeholders involved in each phase of a project increases on-site productivity. This workflow saves time, reduces re-work, and helps increase standardization. It saves you time by defining and duplicating systematic pre-task and punch list items or any other type of task that need to be completed room-to-room or floor plan to floor plan.
You must use the web version of Fieldwire to set up this workflow, but our mobile apps can be used to complete the tasks in the field.
How to use this Guide
In our example scenario, you are planning the installation of drywall. This same process can be used to shortcut the field management of any project with multiple, similar floors or areas: by a specialty contractor planning pre-task work for other trades, an architect planning for a punch walk, or any other user looking to proactively plan work.
Imagine you are a project manager at a GC working on a multifamily residential project where floor levels 2-5 have the same floor plan, and you need to install drywall in each room. You want to assign all of the tasks necessary to complete this phase to your drywall subcontractor and attach a pre-drywall checklist to confirm all steps within the checklist get completed.
Table of Contents
We also created a companion video that goes through each step in real-time. The following timestamps in the video align with the main sections of the instructions in this guide:
- 1:47 - Step 1: Pre-populating and duplicating tasks onto one plan
- 3:30 - Step 2: Export a CSV with the tasks
- 4:55 - Step 3: Importing these tasks onto the other floor plans
- 7:15 - Step 4: Tracking, Managing, and Reporting on tasks
1. Pre-Populate the Tasks throughout one Plan
This section outlines how to create an effective 'template' to define how tasks should be formatted throughout your plans. Focus on what you would like to capture in each task and where you would like your tasks to be located on your plan sheets.
1a. Create a Task
Under the ‘Plans’ tab, open (or upload) your first repetitive plan. From the markup toolbar, drop a task in the appropriate location on your plan:
Note: It is important to place the task in a specific location, since Fieldwire will reference these coordinates when you duplicate these tasks onto other floors (plans) of your project.
Once your task has been placed on the plan, you can enter a name, checklists, related tasks, and other pertinent task attributes. Fill out basic task information to prioritize and assign, as well as to help with reporting, managing, and scheduling your tasks as a whole.
Using our drywall installation example, here is how you could potentially populate the task:
- Name the task ‘Drywall’.
- Create or select a checklist template to confirm all drywall work is completed. In this case, we'll add a ‘Pre-drywall Checklist’ to our task. Preset checklists save time and ensure consistency.
- Change the category to ‘Drywall’. In most cases, categories are trades, but categories are completely customizable so you can tailor them to your team’s needs.
- Assign this Task to the drywall subcontractor, which in this case, is Maggie. The Assignee will receive a notification linked to the task that informs them work needs to be completed.
Because you attached a checklist template called ‘Pre-drywall Checklist’, a tag automatically populates called ‘pre-drywall_checklist’. Tags can be used in conjunction with categories and your other task attributes to sort and filter tasks when planning and reporting. Leverage the checklist tag in this case as the unique identifier you can use later to filter for these particular drywall tasks that we are going to copy from floor to floor.
You can add target start and end dates directly in the task now, and/or you and your task assignees can adjust the start and end dates later in the calendar or Gantt views. Add other optional attributes like location, manpower, and cost if this information is helpful for planning, execution, or to further sort and filter tasks in subsequent reporting and scheduling.
More information on task content:
- How do I manage my checklist templates
- What are task attributes?
- What are tags and how can I edit them?
- What is the tasks tab and what task views are available?
1b. Duplicate the Task
Once your model task is created on your first plan, right-click the task and choose to ‘duplicate’ it. After you select 'duplicate', hold the 'shift' key, and click to drop the task multiple times in all of the other rooms on that plan where the same work needs to be done:
You can use the same process for pre-task lists for other trades, punch lists, or any other work that needs to be completed in any phase of your project.
More Information on duplicating tasks:
2. Generate a CSV Export
Once you have all the tasks populated on your first plan, you can replicate them onto other similar floor plans. To do this, you'll first export the tasks you just created in a CSV report. Then we'll walk you through importing your CSV to duplicate these tasks across the additional floor plans.
To generate the CSV export, follow these steps:
- On Fieldwire web, select the ‘tasks’ tab and click ‘generate reports’.
- Create and name a simple report template; for example, ‘Level 2 pre-drywall tasks’. This template will remain in the project and you can use this same template to report on the progress of these task items later.
- Change the report type to ‘CSV’ and adjust the filters to identify all the tasks you just created. In this example:
- Set the 'Category' filter to ‘drywall’.
- Set the (hash)tag filter to ‘pre-drywall_checklist’.
- Set the sheet filter to the plan on which you created your tasks, sheet ‘A2.01-2’ in our example.
- Last, enter your email into the ‘recipients’ section and then email or download the report.
- If you choose to email, you will receive a link to the file. Select the link, and then open the CSV in excel or another spreadsheet program.
The CSV export captures the tasks as rows and all their associated attributes as columns. If there is a task in your file that you don’t need to copy onto other floors, delete the row with that task and then save the file.
More information on creating reports:
3. Import (Copy) Tasks to the remaining Plans
Using the task importer, we'll next duplicate the Drywall tasks you just created on Levels 3, 4, and 5. All of the duplicated tasks will appear in the same locations on these plans as they were placed on your first plan.
Note: The task importer gives you the option to import the ‘skeleton’ of a task, so, any photos or existing messages will not be imported.
The task importer has columns for: Title, Priority, Category, Assignee email, Start date, end date, plan, X pos, Y pos, Location, Manpower, Cost, Description / Hashtags, Related task name, Checklist, and Existing files. This information will be exported out of the CSV file and will be used to recreate the tasks on the remaining plans.
Follow these steps to import the tasks onto Level 3, 4, and 5:
Copy columns ‘Title’ through ‘cost’ from the CSV Export into the task importer. Note: Any cells that are highlighted red indicates there is an error. This can happen if you have entered a category, plan, or location that does not exist in the project.
In this case, the date is in the incorrect format. In excel, change the date format to (yyyy-mm-dd) and paste it back into the task importer.
Note: Under the ‘Description/Hashtag’ column, you have the option to copy over any descriptions or hashtags. Note that a ‘#’ symbol will place the following text as a hashtag, and any text without a ‘#’ will come in as a description in the task ‘messages’.
Include the ‘pre-drywall checklist’ under the ‘Checklist’ Column. Use the drop-down box to select the checklist and drag the cells down through each task that requires that checklist. Drag down cell content to quickly reproduce it:
Note: If any Files need to be referenced in these tasks, use the same process in the ‘Existing Files’ column to add an existing file.
Change the cells in the ‘Plan’ column to the Level 3 plan. Use the drop-downs to select the correct plan, then drag that plan down though the relevant tasks:
Adjust the cells in the ‘Location’ column if there are other unit numbers or locations associated with the tasks:
Note: You have the option to change the priority level, start date, and end date accordingly. If you don’t want to enter the dates into the task importer, you can adjust these in from the task itself or within the calendar or Gantt view.
Once you have entered the drywall tasks for Level 3, copy all of the tasks, paste them below, and repeat steps 3 and 4 for the remaining levels.
Once you enter all of the pertinent task information, select ‘import tasks’. The tasks will then populate throughout your project plans.
More Information on the Task Importer:
3a. How does the X & Y Position in the task importer work?
The X & Y position is based on where the task is placed in conjunction with the percentage across the sheet. The X Position runs from left to right and the Y position runs from the top of the page to the bottom. We've attached a visual below, that you can download here.
3b. Other ways to use the task importer:
To duplicate a ‘master task’ with other related tasks, use the ‘Related task’ column to attach all related tasks to the master task.
For example, to ensure all trades complete work in a room. My ‘master task’ is called ‘Complete Room 101’ and has the following related tasks to complete work within the room: Drywall, Electrical, Flooring, Mechanical, Low Voltage, Paint, Plumbing:
Use the task importer and relate all of these tasks to ‘Complete Room 2-101’, ‘Complete Room 2-102’, ‘Complete Room 2-103’, etc.
You can also generate a CSV Export from multiple Fieldwire projects and then import each into one project to view task trends as a whole:
- In some cases, Multifamily Residential Contractors will choose to create separate Fieldwire projects for each home within a community development or different single-family projects, but want to have the ability to track trends across these projects.
- To successfully accomplish this, categories, hashtags, etc. should be consistent from project to project.
- Export a CSV report from each project to capture the pertinent information.
- Import these tasks into a new Fieldwire project to capture a snapshot in time of information, combine the CSV reports in excel and apply filters to pull information, plug these exports into a BI tool, and/or if you have a development team, use our open API to automate this process.
More information about related tasks, cloning, and the Fieldwire API:
- Can I link tasks together?
- How do I clone projects?
- What is the Fieldwire API and how can I get an API token (key)?
4. Complete and Track the Tasks
Once the imported, return to the ‘Plans’ tab on any device and confirm that the tasks have populated throughout the remainder of the plans.
As Maggie completes the work on-site, she is able to check off items from the checklist, add photos, and complete the tasks.
You are able to track progress in each location with photos and messages within the task.
Once you confirm the work is complete, you can use our two-step verification to confirm all steps in the checklist have been completed
Since you have already set up a report template, change the template type to "PDF Detailed" and schedule these reports to go out on a certain day of the week or month to keep your subcontractors, owners, and other users in the loop with the progress of these tasks:
This completes how to clone/replicate tasks and checklists. By simply exporting a single task and checklist into a CSV file and importing the report back in to quickly populate tasks in projects with duplicate floor plans.
More information on completing tasks:
How do real companies Fieldwire to manage their Multifamily Residential Projects?
Several Fieldwire Customers leverage the ease of use provided through tasks and the task importer to promote standardization across their project. Take a look at these use-cases for some real-world examples of the workflow!